Tag Archives: Sally Smart

Smart’s cutting parade of choreography

Chout Ballet Curtain, (The Choreography of Cutting) @ Tony Raka Art Gallery - Image Courtesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn PrittChout Ballet Curtain, (The Choreography of Cutting) at Tony Raka Art Gallery, Ubud – Image Courtesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn Pritt

 

Australian contemporary artist Sally Smart has a long and enduring bond with Indonesia, having first exhibited in 2005 at the Jogja Biennale. “I have a special fascination in the shadow theatre, and have had a collection of Wayang Kulit puppets for many years. This has inspired my interest in the representation of the shadow world and its story telling dimension, across cultures,” Smart said.

“I visit Yogyakarta regularly where I have formed relationships with artists and artisans who I continue to collaborate with and engage in immersive dialogue and practice, examining cultural history and the commonalities in the post-colonial world discourse.”

 

P.A.R.A.D.E - Sally Smart @ BIASA - Image Richard Horstman                         P.A.R.A.D.E – Sally Smart at BIASA, Kerobokan

 

In 2012, as the Sackler fellow at the University of Connecticut, USA Smart worked with their School of Puppetry and animation, learning shadow puppet techniques and creating a series of works that also included moving image. Her puppet creations are a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, the artist also being inspired by the seminal European avant-garde artists of the Dada movement, along with the Constructivism philosophies. She positions early 20th century experimental choreography, costume and theatre design alongside traditional Indonesian shadow puppet performance.

The ‘immediacy and simplicity’ of collage as a potent contemporary art practice is often overlooked. Cutting out and re-assembling, taking from one source to compliment another is a disruptive, yet highly creative method with limitless potentialities. For Smart it is the foundation of the communication of her artistic ideas. “The cut out methodology has been a strong part of my practice since the early nineties – the expression of a cut out – aligns silhouette and the shadow play conceptually and technically,” she said.

Puppets (The Choreography of Cutting) - Sally Smart @ Tony Raka Art Gallery - Images coutesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn PrittPuppets (The Choreography of Cutting) – Sally Smart at the Tony Raka Art Gallery – Images coutesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn Pritt

 

Honold Fine Art (HFA) presents in parallel solo exhibitions Sally Smart’s most recent offerings held in two different venues in Bali, Indonesia. From 19 June The Choreography of Cutting opened at the Tony Raka Art Gallery, Ubud, and P.A.R.A.D.E. at BIASA in Kerobokan. Her work ‘speaks’ about the human body as a vehicle of expression through movement, performance and gesture, revealing collective and individual anxieties, while questioning the status quo.

At a glance both shows appear worlds apart, yet they are innately connected, P.A.R.A.D.E. being the perfect synthesis of Smart’s two works exhibited in Ubud. Displayed at Tony Raka is Chout Ballet Curtain, (The Choreography of Cutting) 2018, an enormous 350 x 900cm wall hanging assemblage in which abstract organic forms and imaginary landscapes come alive upon Smart’s colourful textile curtain that includes dye transfer photographic prints on satin and chiffon, with multiple collage elements. And, Puppets (The Choreography of Cutting) 2016-18 a mixed-media installation of over 30 abstract suspended puppets, with moveable parts and of varying dimensions.

P.A.R.A.D.E - Sally Smart @ BIASA Image Courtesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn PrittP.A.R.A.D.E – Sally Smart at BIASA  – Image Courtesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn Pritt

 

P.A.R.A.D.E is inspired by Smart’s encounter with the immense stage curtain painted by Pablo Picasso for the Ballet Parade in 1917 on display in Rome in 2017. In Smart’s P.A.R.A.D.E which features Parade (In Being Dancing), 2018, Staging the Studio (Blaubart &Pina), 2017-18, and Drama (Staging the Studio), 2018, all floor to ceiling curtains with photographic dye transfers on textile with collage elements, a troupe of figures are represented on transparent textiles intersecting and overlapping to create multiple images of performance.

While Chout Ballet Curtain is predominated by strong colors and dense ‘heavy’ fabrics, the illusory impact emphasizes the laws of gravity grounding the observer to the floor. P.A.R.A.D.E, on-the-other-hand, has the opposite impact. It’s multiple see-through films are soft and delicate, soothing upon the eye. While its transparent qualities with layered figures appear sensual – a most potent allure. Air conditioning choreographs gentle rhythmic waves of motion across the curtain’s surfaces that are seemingly engaged within a dance of their own, and we become captivated in the dynamic interplay of Smart’s layered translucent ‘performers’. Our vision is then drawn upwards allowing us to feel elevated and expansive. The beauty and simplicity of the material is seductive – our experience is potent and ethereal.

Puppets (The Choreography of Cutting) - Sally Smart @ Tony Raka Art Gallery - Image is coutesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn PrittPuppets (The Choreography of Cutting) – Sally Smart at Tony Raka Art Gallery – Image coutesy of Honold Fine Art & Evelyn Pritt

 

One of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, Smart is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. She is currently the Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow at University of Melbourne, and a board member of the National Association for the Visual Arts. She is represented in significant international public and private art collections. Recognized internationally for her large scale cut-out assemblage installations and, increasingly, performance, Smart’s artistic practice engages identity politics and the complex relationships between the body, thought and culture.

The most delightful aspects of Smart’s work are the opportunities for audience interaction, and personal art experiences. Her installations invite the observer to venture closer, to wander within and take part in a make believe other world. In response some people become animated in their own intimate performance, which has the potential to touch them deeply, while being coded into their memories.

Detail of Chout Ballet Curtain, (The Choreography of Cutting) - Sally Smart - Image Richard Horstman   Detail of Chout Ballet Curtain, (The Choreography of Cutting) – Sally Smart

 

“I am interested to observe the audience physically engage with my work,” the artist said. “As performance and movement are imbedded conceptually in the works, the feeling of movement and dance within the space becomes manifest, with the puppets and the curtains – making it feel dynamic and engaging. I was excited to see this.”

When asked if she believes that as artists seek out new avenues to create more positive opportunities for fresh and personal audience art experiences that society will gain greater benefits through contemporary art? Smart responded, “Yes, always when something is triggered, even the slightest gesture, to reveal and present possibilities for news ways of thinking an engagement in all aspects of society. Art makes essential pathways.”

20180620_155042_IMG_4240                           Detail of P.A.R.A.D.E – Sally Smart at BIASA 

 

 

The Choreography of Cutting

at Tony Raka Art Gallery,

Jalan Raya Mas 86, Mas, Ubud

& P.A.R.A.D.E. at BIASA,

Jalan Raya Kerobokan 51 X, Kerobokan

Open from 17 June – 17 July 2018

www.sallysmart.com

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of Honold Fine Art with Evelyn Pritt & Richard Horstman

Opening Doors On Indonesian Art History Discourse – YOS 2016

20161022_163626Leading Indonesian artist Entang Wiharso shares with the audience about his creative journey at Black Goat Studio during the YOS 2016 Focus Tours.

 

As a platform for dialogue and collaboration the annual Yogyakarta Open Studio (YOS) program supports the development of new knowledge and documentation on contemporary art studio practice. It provides the public and arts community with exposure to an array of artists working in a variety of fields at various stages in their career.

Artist studios’ are essential sites of engagement revealing details of the creative practice that cannot be seen elsewhere. They give insight into an artist’s environment and state of mind, highlights with whom they interact and their strategic approaches to developing their careers. Beginning in 2013, each year Yogyakarta based artists are invited to open their studios while examining a specific theme. YOS 2016’s theme is “Artists Engagement With Art History”.

20161021_120624Lugis Studio, the creative hub and printing making facility of artists Muhlis Lugi open to the public during YOS 2016.

 

As the study of the development of the visual arts, art history involves understanding the social, political, and intellectual context of art in relation to its cultural origins. Art historians attempt to answer in historically specific ways questions that relate to style, meaning, visual and discursive function, and artistic practices.

“Indonesian art is fully part of the global art scene, so its historical analysis – its development and writing – are more pressing than ever before,” said YOS Director Christine Cocca.

“We selected art history as this year’s theme because of the pivotal, but perhaps neglected position it has in Indonesian art discourse.”

“YOS 2016 wishes to jump-start the conversation about qualification and look at how aspiring Indonesia art historians go about gaining the education they need in a country that still doesn’t offer a degree in art history,” she adds.

20161022_133106Australian artist Sally Smart describes some of her creative processes with the audience at Studio Sally Smart during the YOS 2016 Focus Tours.

 

Running 19 -23 October YOS 2016 collaborates with a group of local and international art historians whose work engages with Indonesian contemporary art. An essential element aligning artist, practice, thought and audience, a series of expert led Focus Tours giving visitors the opportunity for in-depth discussions about the artists’ work and studio practice is offered 22 & 23 October from 1-5 pm.

Participating art historians are Agus Burhan and Suwarno Wisetrotomo from Yogyakarta, Leonor Veiga, Portugal, Mary-Louise Totton, USA, Amanda Katherine Rath, Germany, Wulan Dirgantoro and Astrid Honold both based in Germany and Indonesia. Together they have developed a series of interviews with participating studios exploring artists’ engagement with the production, function and impact of the discipline on their practice. Seventeen artist’s studios situated around Yogyakarta will be open during YOS 2016.

“Indonesia has an extensive art historical record, but little art historical discourse is being done,” said Leonor Veiga, a PhD candidate at Leiden University whose dissertation The Third Avant-Garde: Recalling Tradition in Contemporary Southeast Asian Art analyses how contemporary art practices negotiate traditional arts in the region.

“Curators work reaches more artists than work of art historians which is problematic, leading to artists being cultural orphans with little understanding where their work may fit in art historical terms,” Veiga adds. “Grassroots initiatives like YOS 2016 create space for debate, and contribute to open discussions about essential issues.”

20161021_210858Suwarno Wisetromo, Entang Wiharso, Heri Dono, Fendry Ekel and Mikke Sustanto engaged in discussions on issues concerning Indonesian Art history at RJ Katamsi Galeri, ISI Yogakarta as a part of the YOS 2016 program.

 

“Through YOS artist’s studios became more alive and accessible; far from the image of mysterious,” said Suwarno Wisetromo, a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI) Yogyakara, and curator at the National Gallery of Indonesia, who pursed his PhD in History with a focus on art to try and achieve comparable qualifications.

“Participating studios have to work together with historians, conduct research and create relevant works. The artists are challenged to become the initiator. Providing an alternative ‘space’ and ‘approach’ to existing events such as the Jogja Bienale, Art Jog, and gallery exhibitions that are outside of curatorial and commercial platforms makes YOS significant, ”Suwarno adds.

Reflecting on sustainability Astrid Honold, who divides her time between Berlin and Yogyakarta said, “As a young country, Indonesia, very understandably has other priorities. Art, in a way, as important and existential as it might be, is a luxurious occupation. Other things come first. But then you get the market which thinks you can just jump over centuries of development of thought. Well you cannot.”

20161020_161205Open to the public during YOS 2016, Studio Jumaldi Alfi, featuring the work of well-known Indonesian international artist Jumaldi Alfi.

 

“I am excited to be participating in YOS 2016,” said Heri Dono, the founder of the Kalahan Studio and one of Indonesia’s most prominent international names. “YOS is important to the development of contemporary art in Yogyakarta.”

“Our priority is to examine issues in the art world through the artist’s eyes and experiences. Importantly, YOS lets the artists set the terms,” Cocca adds. Complete with online information, maps, and a program of expert guided studio tours YOS not only supports the development of art and cultural tourism in Yogyakarta, yet the Indonesian creative economies sector as well.

Participating artists include Endang Lestari, Sujud Dartanto, Entang Wiharso, Theresia Agustina Sitompul, Nia Fliam, Agus Ismoyo, Fendry Ekel, Deni Rahman, Lenny Ratnasari Weichert, Ivan Sagita, Komroden Haro, Lugas Syllabus, Noor Ibrahim, Eddi Prabandono, Sally Smart, Heri Dono, Jumaldi Alfi, Muhlis Lugis and Desrat Fianda.

yos-discussion-at-studio-kalahan-heri-dono-image-courtesy-yos-2016YOS Director Christine Cocca and Heri Dono giving an art presentation, a pre YOS 2016 event at Dono’s Kalahan Studios. Image courtesy YOS.

http://www.yogyakartaopenstudio.com

 

Words & Images: Richard Horstman